APG carnival aims to raise awareness for disability sports
APG organisers hope Games carnival will increase awareness for disabled athletes
The target is at least half a million people over 12 days.
The Asean Para Games (APG) carnival kicked off yesterday at the Singapore Sports Hub and organisers hope it will do more than just enhance the Games experience for the public.
"We set out to design this carnival as a learning journey for everybody, so we hope that anyone who comes through this carnival will leave with a greater appreciation and understanding for people with disabilities," said Lee Huei Chern, the head of marketing, communications and engagement for the Singapore Asean Para Games Organising Committee.
"For people with disability, the intention is to take this platform to try out sports, so they can later choose to pursue sports or to live better through sports.
"So I think this is the main takeaway. It's the legacy after the APG - what it is for everyone, for all Singaporeans."
The carnival, which features 21 activities, is divided into four main zones - the Para Experience Zone, Para Sports Tryouts, Kids and Inflatable Zone, and the ActiveSG Experience Zone.
In the Para Sports Tryouts, members of the public can experience para-sports like archery on a wheelchair.
They can also understand what it is like for people with disabilities, through activities like navigating a course on their wheelchair, in the Para Experience Zone.
The carnival is open from 10am to 9pm daily, until the end of the Asean Para Games on Dec 9.
The only exception is Saturday, when the carnival will open two hours earlier. The eighth edition of the Games, hosted by Singapore, starts on Thursday.
Filipino Maureen Aquino, who went to the carnival yesterday with her family, said that the carnival is a good platform for exposure.
"It's (going to the carnival) to expose my child to these kinds of things," said the 34-year-old, who teaches students with special needs in the Philippines.
"It's easier to teach them when they're trying out things, rather than me telling them."
Para-athlete Darren Chua, who will represent Singapore in table tennis at the Para Games, believes that the carnival will help to raise awareness of disability sports in Singapore.
"I think it is good in the sense that it really lets the public know that there is actually very little difference between the disabled and the abled," said the 39-year-old, who runs a learning centre.
"I think what is more important than actually playing the sport (at the carnival) is the spirit of inclusiveness.
"I really hope that at the end of this carnival, even if they don't really like playing the sports, they can see that whether they are disabled or abled, everyone is actually able to do something."